Debate on rules as Mines Bill is
taken up in Rajya Sabha
Times, March 10, 2015
The Rajya Sabha
today saw several adjournments as the government and opposition
benches sparred over rules when the House was to take up a bill
to amend Mines Act amid demands for sending it to a Select
Committee of Parliament.
Trouble started as soon as Steel and Mines Minister Narendra
Singh Tomar moved the motion for the passage of the Mines and
Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015.
An amendment was moved by several opposition members including
Jesudasu Seelam (Congress) and P Rajeeve (CPI M), who wanted the
Bill to be referred to a Select Committee.
held that there should be a discussion on the Bill, which they
claimed was in the interest of states with sizeable tribal
members disagreed, demanding a vote first on whether the Bill
should be referred to a Select Committee.
Members from both
the government as well as opposition members quoted rules to
buttress their arguments. This continued for more than an hour,
during which the House was adjourned thrice, for brief spells.
Deputy Chairman PJ
Kurien tried to find a solution to the question whether there
should be a discussion or not.
CPI (M) P Rajeeve
said a motion for sending the Bill to a Select Committee had
been moved by the opposition and in case it is defeated, there
could be lots of discussion.
Leader of Opposition
Ghulam Nabi Azad criticised the government claiming it was
pushing legislations bypassing the detailed scrutiny of
Leader of the House
and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the bills were a matter
of "urgency" and that the opposition was trying to retain
obsolete laws to "delay the benefits" going to tribals and
He termed it as a
conspiracy against the tribal states.
Jaitley said the
goverment is in disagreement with the view that the motion to
refer a Bill to a select committee should be taken without a
discussion just because the numbers are on a particular side.
"Debate is not an
empty formality. It is an act of persuading other members," he
said, while emphasising that the larger public interest has to
be kept in mind.
He asked members to
imagine the "converse" situation, wherein a particular group, if
in majority, insists that its Bills be considered without a
With both sides
insistent, Deputy Chairman Kurien said he too was trying to
understand the matter.
As members quoted
various rules, Kurien wanted to know if there was a precedent as
per which a vote on the motion could be allowed without a
discussion. "Why do you want it without discussion?" he asked.
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